August 16, 2013

Interim AD James Becomes Permanent

ULS Board expected to approve Aaron James soon

GSU President Frank G. Pogue asked Aaron James to
become Athletics Director on a permanent basis.

Grambling, La. – Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue asked Aaron James to be interim athletic director for a second time since he’s been president. This time, however, he’s decided that James is his man.

“Aaron was a finalist when we looked at more than 80 candidates for the position, and he was a truly strong candidate,” said Pogue. “After asking Aaron to fill in just a short few weeks ago and after working with him and watching him work with others, it became obvious that our national search yielded a good batch of candidates, including our own Aaron James.”  “The AD job is a difficult and challenging one, but I have learned that Aaron can work cooperatively with anyone.”

“I’ve coached basketball at my alma mater. I’ve worked in athletics and development at my school,” said James, 60, who lives in Ruston, LA. “I’ve always wanted to be Grambling State University’s AD, so this is a dream come true.”

The appointment is pending approval by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors The Board may consider the university’s request as early Tuesday of next week.

James said the biggest challenges for athletics include enhancing the university’s student-athlete academic performance in the classroom; bringing more recognition to lesser-known sports, especially women’s basketball and track and field and pursuing a more secure financial future with a student athletic fee.

He said he’s already working with Pogue, other administration officials and Student Government Association President Jordan Harvey and his team to help students understand the make-or-break issues tied to student passage of an athletic fee this academic year. He said failure to pass the fee could mean reducing the number of athletic programs, limiting the number of games played away from campus or even becoming a Division II or III in the NCAA.

“This is big stuff,” added James, a 2012 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame member and a member of the Grambling Legends Sports Hall of Fame. “I don’t think our faculty, staff, students and coaches really understand what’s at stake, and it’s my job to make sure that they do.”

James said he’s proud of the 119 student-athletes who earned GPAs of 3.0 or higher in the spring semester, and he wants that to increase. “They are students first and foremost,” he said.
“We want them to get a good education, graduate and perform well in their respective sports.”

James moved into the AD’s office on the first level of the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center a few weeks ago. Now that the job is becoming permanent, he’ll start gathering his things and settling in, putting his mementoes, plaques and other things where others can see them and where he can see some of the history that brought him to this job.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity, and I feel so blessed,” said James, who lives in Ruston with his wife, Abigail. James is the father of two adult children, Brandon James of New Orleans, and Tiffiani James of Arlington TX.

An associate athletic director for marketing and promotions, he briefly served as the university’s interim development director with an office in the Institutional Advancement building.

James will lead Grambling State’s 15 sports programs: football, men’s basketball, baseball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field; women’s basketball, bowling, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, women’s tennis, soccer, softball and volleyball.

James succeeds Percy “Chico” Caldwell, who was named AD at Grambling State University in February 2012. Caldwell resigned last month. James served interim AD from in June of 2011 until early 2012, when Caldwell was named AD.

“I’m from New Orleans, but I’m a Gramblinite and I’ll always be a Gramblinite,” said James. “I’m pleased to serve in whatever way I can; I’m just glad I can do my dream job.”

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Will Sutton



Grambling University Foundation Postpones Gala

Grambling, LA – The Sept. 6 Grambling University Foundation Beacon Awards gala has been postponed. It will be rescheduled for a later date.  If there are questions, please contact Debra Johnson at 318-274-2560 or email her at

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GSU Football Media Day Set for Saturday

Grambling, La - The Grambling State University football team will hold Media and Fan day Saturday.  The tigers will start the day with a scrimmage at 9:30 a.m. Players and coaches will then speak with the media.

Fans can pick up schedule cards, purchase season tickets and get information about the upcoming season.  The regular season begins for the G-Men on August 31 when they take on Alabama A&M University at Robinson Stadium.  Kick off for the Tigers and the Bulldogs is 6 p.m.  

The 2013 season will include the Tigers playing in four Classics, including the Missouri Classic in Kansas City, the Circle City Classic in Indianapolis, the Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic in Dallas and the Bayou Classic in New Orleans.  Tickets for all four home games and all classics are on sale at the GSU athletic ticket office inside the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.  

For more information, call 318-274-2625.

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August 13, 2013

Veteran Educator Chosen to Lead Grambling Middle, High Schools

Longtime Grambling State University faculty educator sees bright future, opportunities

Dr. Pamela Payne has been selected to lead Grambling Middle School and Grambling High School.
Dr. Pamela Payne has been selected to lead Grambling
Middle School and Grambling High School.

GRAMBLING, LA (August 13, 2013) A Grambling State University graduate with deep higher education academic experience and certifications has been chosen as the new principal of Grambling Middle School and Grambling High School.

“We are fortunate that our search led us to someone on our campus who has the types of talents we need,” said Larnell Flannagan, dean of the College of Education. “Dr. Payne has the appropriate public school and higher education experiences we need to advance our 6-12 graders to the level of expectation required for exposing students to challenging knowledge and skills for today’s society.”

“It is a pleasure to continue to serve Grambling State University, and I’m especially excited that I’ll work with a talented faculty and staff to educate young men and women, helping them to become creative, smart and productive citizens and students ready for greater challenges,” said Pamela Moye Payne, who earned her Ed.D. in developmental education at Grambling State in 2004, and assumed the role of principal this month. “Our lab schools have a tremendous history and wonderful opportunities for young ones to engage intellectually with professionals of various backgrounds and experiences, including several with Ph.D.s and other academic credentials.”

Payne earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbus State University in Columbus, Ga., and earned her master’s from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. She earned another 30 hours beyond her master’s at McNeese State University and completed her Ed.D. at Grambling State University.

The middle and high schools are two of three laboratory schools on the university’s campus. In addition, there is an elementary lab school. The schools’ focus includes educating students and assisting the university as a part of the College of Education by providing learning and teaching opportunities for undergraduate education majors while also providing opportunities for educational research.

The 15-member faculty and staff serves 85 middle school students and about 150 high school students who live in the Lincoln, Union, Claiborne, Bienville, and Jackson parish communities. The schools work cooperatively with students and their parents and caregivers to provide a well-rounded education.

“Dr. Payne has been a part of our university family for quite some time, and it was wonderful news to hear that she was interested in stepping into this important job at such a critical time,” added Connie Walton, the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue said “as we compete for students with charter, private, public, voucher and other educational options, I’m certain that Dr. Payne will be the magnet we need to attract, and keep students who want incredible experiences as a part of a great education.”

A Mobile, Ala., native, Payne has worked at the university in a variety of positions since 1995. A 1985 graduate of Columbus State University in Georgia, she earned a degree in secondary education in English.   She went on to earn a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at Louisiana Tech University in 1992 and completed an additional 30 hours focused on administration and supervision at McNeese State University in 1994.

At Grambling State University, Payne has served as acting dean of the College of Liberal Arts, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and interim vice president for student affairs. She has been on the faculty of curriculum and instruction and English departments.

Payne is married to John Payne, a military science instructor at the university who is a retired U.S. Army first sergeant. She is the mother of two and the grandmother of three. In Ruston, she is the youth director at Zion Traveler Baptist Church and a member of the Ruston Rotary Club. In addition, she is a member of the National Association of University Women, National Council of Teachers of English and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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August 12, 2013

Students Get Help Moving Into Dorm Digs

Move-in day starts with first of 1,600 at Grambling State

Grambling State University Media Bureau

Grambling, LA - Carrying bedspreads, mini-fridges, and mementos from home, the Grambling State University campus was swarming with new students, parents and relatives.  Elrick Truvillion was among them.

His mom, Shawanda Truvillion, held bags of food and bottles of water bottles for her son. Despite feeling sad that her son was leaving home, she said she’s excited about the opportunities.  "Grambling is a good experience to teach my son,” she stated. "We just hope everything he needs for her future is here."

President Frank G. Pogue is happy that Truvillion chose Grambling State.  “There are 105 HBCUs institutions in the United States and, among all those, they chose to come to Grambling ….and that means something to everybody here,” said Pogue, who greeted students as they unpacked and moved in. “This is Grambling State University. We take a lot of pride in that name and hopefully the class of 2017 does, too.”

According to university officials, about 1,600 students are moving into Pinchback, Wheatley, Attucks and Bethune halls this week, preparing to start class on Aug. 19. That’s about 50 fewer than last year at this point. “Hopefully we’re going to be well over 1,600,” said James Payne, the university’s director of housing. 

An army of university administration, faculty, staff and student volunteers started helping students unload boxes, bags and hampers, helping the new students carry them to their dorm rooms. Returning university students with the Student Government Association (SGA), Favrot Student Union Board (FSUB), fraternities, sororities and other student groups were among the helpers. “I was in their shoes two years ago,” chuckled Dominick Wilson, president of the engineering club. “We’re here to help them any way possible.”

“This is going to be their home away from home for the next few years, why not help,” he added.

Connie Walton, provost and vice president of academic affairs who attended and graduated from Grambling State a few years ago, said the start of the new academic year is “an exciting time because it indicates that we have the opportunity to shape another generation of students.”

Students said they’re looking forward to taking college courses, meeting new friends and making the most of their college experience. “I’m excited,” said Kimini Black, a Los Angeles native who wants to major in business marketing. “I can’t wait to meet my dorm mates. I haven’t met them yet.”

Bossier City freshman Kierra Rochelle took courses on campus this summer so she’s learned something about the campus and the area, but it’s time for the real school year. “I can’t wait for school to start,” said Rochelle, who plans to major in biology. “I’m not really nervous at all.”

Elrick Truvillion, who plans to be a mechanical engineer major, said he’s getting settled so he can “take advantage of everything this school has to offer."

The university will have a host of welcome activities this week, including a block party to help students get to know each other and have some fun.

“What I hope freshman are hearing is how important it is for them to be at Grambling and how important it is to complete their work and serve the world in magnificent ways,” said Pogue.

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Will Sutton



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